Authorities of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) on Sunday 8th March, 2020 told youth corpers not to panic over the Corona virus outbreak around the world. According to the NYSC, certain preventive measures have been put in place to prevent any outbreak of the virus in its 37 orientation camps scattered nationwide. The exercise for Batch A 2020 takes off in about a week’s time.
But an Islamic human rights group thinks otherwise. In a statement distributed to the media by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 11th March, 2020, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), expressed doubts over the wisdom behind the resolve of the NYSC to carry on with the orientation exercise in the face of worldwide outbreaks.
“Available records show that Corona Virus which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 116,000 across the world. The US alone has reported 14 deaths and about 240 cases of infection. An exercise that attracts about 350,000 Nigerian graduates annually deserves more caution.
“While we agree that the outbreak is not the fault of NYSC officials, we insist that the planning of the orientation camps should take into cognisance the reality on ground. To be on the safe side, the exercise should be postponed by one or two months. We are talking of 350,000 skilled Nigerians. These are our children. They are the hope of this country. We should not put their lives at risk.
“Events are being postponed across the world. Saudi Arabia, a highly conservative country, saw wisdom in halting its annual Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). The Dalai Lama has canceled all future public events indefinitely due to the outbreak. FIFA has postponed the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. Matches are being played in Europe without spectators. Also, the World Athletics Indoor Championships will be postponed until 2021 because of the outbreak. South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual media festival in Austin, Texas, was canceled five days ago (March 6) due to the outbreak. NYSC cannot afford to be too clever by one.
“While we commend the Federal Government (FG) for steps taken so far to curtail the spread of the novel virus, we warn that an assemblage of youths across the nation who are expected to stick together all day for one whole month is too dangerous at this point in time. We should not be deceived by the fact that only two infections have been reported so far. A stitch in time saves nine. Any mishap will be blamed on the FG. We therefore suggest an immediate suspension of all preparations for the 2020 Batch A orientation exercise in the interest of public safety until the coast is clear.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)